My wife (age 62) and I have just been through a 19 month nightmare of major depression and severe anxiety. We tried 4 different doctors and every medication or combination of medications in an attempt to bring her out her mental condition; yet she fell deeper and deeper into depression. It was characterized by retreating further and further from life. She was an outgoing, independent, and involved women with many friends and dedicated to helping others. She was a published writer and poet and gained pleasure from intellectual pursuits. She become reclusive, stopped answering the phone, wouldn't respond to knocks on the door, and finally wouldn't go out of the house for any reason. There came a time when our psychiatrist said we were at the end of trying to find a medication that she would respond to and recommended ECT. I was very much apposed to it and ask him about TMS. He said it was still not approve by the medical community and was still in the experimental stage ( this has since changed) and it was not considered effective with major depression. As a last resort, I decided we would have to try ECT. At the initial evaluation the doctor at the hospital immediately hospitalize her, she was there 3 1/2 weeks and the ECT started there. She came home from the hospital the day of here 8th treatment. Two hours later she said she wanted to phone all her friends. The first 8 treatments were unilateral, the next 7 were bilateral. After the 15th treatment, she went to ECT once a week for 4 weeks, then 1 every other week. Side effects - she has had the short term memory lose that everyone has mentioned, some confused thinking, and a headache after each treatment. She has the ECT at about 6:00am and it is about 2:00pm before she is fully able to carry on. She's lucid, but she feels tired until then. At least in her case, ECT has restored her life and I have "gotten me wife back". I guess the doctors feel ECT is a treatment of last resort and want to be sure all other methods have been exhausted, but for Kate and I it has been a miracle. I guess everyone can respond differently, but I would not rule out ECT as an effective choice for depression.
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